WINNIPEG—New Democrats expressed sadness and frustration at the loss of stability and profitability for Prairie farmers as Canada’s single desk marketing for wheat, durum and barley comes to an end at midnight.
“The end of the Wheat Board marks the end of an era of stability and profitability for Prairie farmers,” said New Democrat critic for the Canadian Wheat Board Pat Martin (Winnipeg Centre). “Since the 1940’s, the Wheat Board offered wheat, durum, and barley producers top dollar for their grains and was a dominant player on the world market. Unfortunately, all that ends today.”
The CWB sold farmers' grain in 70 countries and managed a supply chain that extended from farm gate to end-use customer. It returned all profits to farmers – 4 to 7 billion dollars a year.
Despite opposition from many farmers, Conservatives rammed through a bill ending the Canadian Wheat Board’s (CWB) single desk marketing.
“Last fall, Minister Ritz rammed this legislation through Parliament claiming greater certainty for farmers. Now, he admits he knew all along that gutting the wheat board would actually mean greater instability for Western wheat and barley producers this year,” said Agriculture Critic Malcolm Allen (Welland). “It is becoming obvious that the Conservatives’ agriculture policy is based on ideology rather than good economic sense—and it will be Canadian farmers who will pay the price.”
New Democrats added that the CWB was one stellar example of a public agency in the public interest, run with efficiency, focus, democratic values, and professionalism.